NEW YORK: Consumer spending is set to decline by 1.6% in the US and by 3.1% in the UK in 2009, according to Nielsen's first Economic Current report. By contrast, consumer expenditure will increase by 7% in China and 6% in Russia this year.

Nielsen estimates that fmcg unit sales declined by 2% in the US in December 2008, and expects shoppers will continue to trade down to store brands this year, before spending increases by 1.9% in 2010.

In Europe, UK expenditure levels will drop off by 0.2% next year, Spain will post a decline of 2.4% this year and growth of 0.1% in 2010, while Germany and Italy will both remain largely static.

By contrast, consumer spending in Russia will follow up its improvement this year with expansion of 5% in 2010, and China's market will expand by over 7% both this year and next.

While forecasts are not available for Brazil and India, the fact that the BRIC nations are expected to continue to enjoy economic growth means Nielsen recommends that companies continue to try and boost their brand equity in these countries.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff